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John Kerry Throws Vine Over Pit Of Quicksand To Save Child Companion

PANGSAU, MYANMAR—Thinking quickly to thwart disaster as he ventured deep into the Myanmar rainforest to meet with State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi, Secretary of State John Kerry threw a vine over a pit of quicksand to save the life of his 12-year-old Moroccan companion, Drumstick, sources confirmed Monday.

Can Trump Follow Through On His Campaign Promises?

President-elect Donald Trump made a variety of lofty promises during his campaign as part of a pledge to “make America great again.” The Onion looks at several of these promises and evaluates whether Trump will be willing or able to follow through on them.

What You Need To Know About The Dakota Access Pipeline

Construction is currently stalled on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would connect North Dakota’s Bakken Shale development to oil tank farms in Illinois, by protests led by members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The Onion provides answers to key questions about the project.

What Can Americans Expect Under A Trump Presidency?

With two months until the inauguration of Donald Trump, many Americans are wondering what his term will look like and what his administration might accomplish. The Onion answers some common questions about Trump’s upcoming presidency

James Comey Quickly Reopens Clinton Email Investigation For Few More Minutes

‘Nope, Looks Like It’s All Good Here,’ Says FBI Director

WASHINGTON—In a letter addressed to Congress that was quickly followed by a second message retracting the first, FBI director James Comey is said to have briefly reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails for several more minutes Friday.

Pollsters Admit They Underestimated Voters’ Adrenal Glands

WASHINGTON—In response to widespread criticism that they had failed to predict Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, analysts from polling organizations around the nation admitted Thursday they had underestimated the influence of voters’ adrenal glands on the presidential race.
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Media Landscape Redefined By 24-Second News Cycle

ATLANTA—Last week, after a reported 65 million Americans learned of the bipartisan immigration bill with the breaking news report "Mexicans Stay," it became apparent that the much- ballyhooed 24-second news cycle had come into its own. But now some media experts are questioning the conventional wisdom that says the quickening pace of reportage is providing more news to more people faster.

The two-second segments may cause seizures in the very young and very old.

"Thinking back, the 24-hour news cycle seems glacially slow and simply incapable of covering our ever-changing world," Slate media critic Jack Shafer said. "Yet I can't help but think that segments that last less than four seconds are missing out on some nuance and context that the old 45-second pieces provided. When the media covers the story of a missing girl these days, are they reporting it with the depth and detail that they once did?"

CNN is widely credited with initiating the acceleration of the modern news cycle with the fall 2006 debut of its spin-off channel CNN:24, which provides a breaking news story, an update on that story, and a news recap all within 24 seconds. In addition to creating its groundbreaking format, CNN:24 broke many important stories with reports such as "Ford No Money Everyone Fired," "Iraq Bomb Kill Truck," "Country Hates Bush," "Dow High Now," and "Squirrel Water Skis."

"TV news reporting has always been about breaking the story down into only the barest, most salient facts, but the breakneck pace of contemporary reportage doesn't allow for that anymore," said Professor Robert Kubey, director of the Center for Media Studies at Rutgers University. "Today's ace reporter isn't the one with the best command of the language, but the one who can say 'Congress!' or 'Health care?' or 'Slam dunk!' with the most appropriate expression on his or her face."

Now, the rest of the industry has followed suit, in some cases surpassing the pioneering cable-news channel in the quest for faster, louder, and flashier news. Within a month of CNN:24's debut, MSNBC responded with its own 24-second news channel, MSNBC News Moment, which managed to pack in more than twice as many headlines.

A typical News Moment segment includes seven seconds of lead stories, four seconds of developing news, the "International Second," "Weather on the 00:00:13s with Bob Van Dorn," "The Fastest Four Seconds in Sports," a two-second top stories recap, and wraps with four seconds of mixed entertainment and lifestyle pieces. In larger markets such as New York and Los Angeles, this last portion may be preempted by local news.

The changes have had a ripple effect throughout the media, inspiring everything from the somewhat more in-depth newsmagazine format of CBS's 10 Minutes to the even more stripped-down Fox News Look. The latter repeats every 15 seconds, features more and simpler imagery, and forgoes the use of verbal language in favor of newscasters who gesture emphatically at video clips and hoot in approval or growl in derision, depending on the story.

The faster news cycle has also had a direct impact on newsmakers themselves. Speeches, public statements, and press releases have become markedly more brief and vague now that executives, politicians, and other public figures can pause to watch the recap of their speech in near-real time.

"When a sound bite is going to be a fifth of a second, you have to be much more careful with what you say," said Gerald Conroy, press adviser to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. "We can't have our candidate say 'Not only do illegal guns kill people in the inner cities faster than anything else, but more young blacks die of gunshot wounds than any other group,' because the news will cut it to 'kill people' or 'blacks die.' That half-second quote is what the audience remembers, not your five-second explanation."

Journalists themselves are also feeling the strain of having to file more stories more quickly.

"When I started in this business, I used to have 45 minutes to really dig into a story and check my facts," said Ray Straatsma, a writer for usa2daybeta.com, the popular national newspaper's recently updated online version, whose pages refresh with new headlines more than 70 times per minute. "Now I'll get scooped by the competition if I don't get my story to the editor in three to five seconds."

While the changes have brought higher ratings and ad revenues to televised news, print newspapers have suffered greatly, due to the high cost of printing and distributing a new edition every 24 seconds.

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